Mother’s Love is a solid collection of scenarios, each easy to run, each easily adapted to the mechanics of the Keeper’s choice, and each entry exploring a different aspect of Shub-Niggurath. None of the three is unplayable, but ‘Ġgantija’ is the standout, presenting opportunity aplenty for some great roleplaying, almost like actors being offered juicy roles.
Reviews from R’yleh, Saturday, 20 July 2019
You can pick up the PDF as part of Christmas in July:
Mother’s Love has been a massive leap of faith for me—one where I have wavered on many decisions. In the outcome, I’m deliriously pleased that it has turned out so well. I hope that you can come and see it in person at UK Games Expo, supporting the continuation of The Cthulhu Hack line.
Up to Three Faces of the Wendigo, The Cthulhu Hack was all me. I might have used the springboard of others in publishing something, like Convicts & Cthulhu, but essentially it was me doing the writing. Wendigo took that to another level—as I joined with two other writers. Even then, I used existing artwork to round out the final product and created some of the other elements myself.
When I decided to extend the ideas presented in The Dark Brood—my very positively received take on the entity Shub-Niggurath—I chose to leap into the abyss and bring on-board three writers broadly unknown to me and commission the majority of the artwork. Last September, there was definitely a moment when I thought, “Should I have done this as a Kickstarter?“
I was commissioning three pieces of original writing, with three pieces of original art, plus a map—and at that time I didn’t really have a clue what I was putting on the cover, although I had a fallback. I knew that I would need to do all the editing and layout myself, with some dependable friends to provide proofreading, but the content would all be commission work.
That was scary.
It grew more scary as time slipped by. Passing Dragonmeet at the end of the year. Then rolling into the New Year. I could feel the presence of mid-year and Expo, a looming shadow. I realised that it needed to get done before then, because there’s some measure of fanfare and gamer-access at an event pulling in attendees in the tens of thousands. That face-time with existing players and newcomers makes all the difference.
As the final texts came in—after multiple tweaks and shuffles—invoices were raised, paying for word and art. That remained really scary. I’m still worried, I’m not afraid to admit. When you invest so much money—for which I have my publisher All Rolled Up to thank to no small measure—and time—time enough for me to sketch out, playtest, write and publish another investigation—in one thing, the outcome demands even more of you. Now I have the promotion to consider—the exposure, the play, the reviews…
If early feedback has anything to offer, it’s positive. I’m torn by the delight of seeing the hardback for the first time on Friday—a decision made because if you’re all in, why not really go ALL IN—and the prospect of the remaining work to come. And remembering that there are other projects yet to come, great stuff that means I don’t really have time to stand still—Deadbeats. Island of Ignorance. De Cultis Ineffabilibus. And the Second—final—Edition.
All Rolled Up have just taken delivery of the new hardback investigation collection for The Cthulhu Hack—Mother’s Love.
A 76-page collection of three investigations, written for The Cthulhu Hack but usable with any system. The book is hardback with a red ribbon bookmark, with a wraparound cover by Wenqing Yan.
The collection of three brand new investigations are all set in the late 20th and early 21st Century.
Deep Roots – In 1950s Canada, officers of the law and Children’s Services investigate a double murder and kidnapping that seems to connect back to an abandoned orphanage, in the backwaters of lumber country.
Gift of the Flesh – A team of animal activists seek to infiltrate the abattoir of a company growing rich on the sale of luxury meat products, with evidence of shady practice and possible bribery of European food standards regulators.
Ggantija – In celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death, theatre director Peter Catterick organises a special performance of The Tempest held in the Neolithic Temples at Xaghra. But rehearsals descend into dark events and suddenly the actors find themselves pursued by something far worse than critics or paparazzi.
All Rolled Up has posted Mother’s Love up in their web store. Copies will also be available wherever All Rolled Up/Just Crunch Games attend conventions in the UK.
On top of all that, I kicked off the Paul Baldowski is creating role-playing content for The Cthulhu Hack on Patreon in late November. The idea was to support the ongoing development of The Cthulhu Hack in a building block fashion; so far, in 6 weeks, it’s generated two extended entities – the Dimensional Shambler and Rhan-Tegoth – plus an optional rule for Special Abilities. There’s another entity write-up in progress – and the creative fuel will mean a lot for releases in 2019.
For the last several months, I’ve been holding up the progress of the next set of investigations. I’m absolutely to blame for this because the process of reviewing and providing feedback has been one I’m not great keeping on top of. However, all four writers have had feedback this past week – so, January should see a finalised set of adventures, and most of the art should be in place, too. On that basis, I have expectations of a Spring release for Mother’s Love.
The three adventures continue on from The Dark Brood, taking the business of Shub-Niggurath and spinning it out across the globe. Like Three Faces of Wendigo, the investigations don’t specifically make up a campaign – but a GM can make of them what they will; you’re responsible for introducing any connective tissue to make them into a joined up campaign if you want.
Another bubbling work-in-progress will come in the form of a optional rules set, the dread tome De Cultis Ineffabilibus. Part of this will be bestiary-related, something for which I owe my Patrons thanks. The time spent in creating back story, plot hooks and new mechanics around Lovecraft’s many creatures will make this an interesting addition to the arsenal of anyone running The Cthulhu Hack.
While the publication of the current edition of the Core Rules added extra mechanics and optional rules, many ideas remain. New material hovering in playtest include mechanics for additional creatures, magic, tomes, combat and more – with some material lingering half-formed as marginalia and scattered notes. You can also expect an adventure or two, and a guest writer will provide some of the material – primarily around adding a little more pulpy action to your Cthulhu Hack investigations.
Then we go further afield – with the possibility of two setting supplements. One has been around for a while, but will see a re-write and a re-title: a return to penal colony Australia in Island of Ignorance. This will include updated and expanded material on character creation, with a brief overview of the flavour and material of the environment, as well as an adventure and a bunch of expanded creatures. The original supplement came out with 6-months of the original edition, so you can expect some updates.
The other supplement, tentatively called The Dark of the Moon, sees The Cthulhu Hack heading into the vast darkness of space. At the moment, this includes material to expand character creation, additional mechanics for handling the environment, new and expanded entities of the Mythos, and at least two adventures.
And along with all this, the Patreon content will continue to trickle out month-on-month – along with playtesting of investigations and mechanics at any events I attend that don’t demand I spend 100% of my time at the stall!
Thanks everyone for your support in 2018 – and you can still grab The Cthulhu Hack at a discount until midnight – and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings!